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Old August 21, 2008, 04:33 PM   #1
CraigC
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Equipment for blackpowder cartridges?

Alright, you guys have done it. It wasn't enough that I was hooked on smokepoles but now you've got me wanting to stuff that archaic propellant in perfectly good brass cartridges. Assuming I have everything needed for smokeless reloading, is there anything I need other than a blackpowder powder measure and drop tube? How important is the drop tube? Any preferences as to which brand of powder measure? I was looking at those from Lyman, RCBS and Hornady at Midway. The rest of my equipment is RCBS green.

I'm probably ordering a Cimarron 1866 or 1873 Deluxe Sporting Rifle in .44Spl my next trip to town. Double duty with my replica .44Colts.
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Old August 21, 2008, 05:04 PM   #2
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I just use an extra smokeless powder measure (aluminum). A drop tube, funnel, and powder scoop would probably work better.

I don't use black powder anywhere near my progressive press because of the remote chance of a primer going off while being seated might possibly ignite the powder somehow.
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Old August 21, 2008, 06:28 PM   #3
Fingers McGee
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Quote:
Assuming I have everything needed for smokeless reloading, is there anything I need other than a blackpowder powder measure and drop tube? How important is the drop tube? Any preferences as to which brand of powder measure? I was looking at those from Lyman, RCBS and Hornady at Midway. The rest of my equipment is RCBS green.
You don't need anything else. BP measure is nice; but not required. Drop tube isnt necessary for pistol caliber cartridges, or for single shot rifle cartridges for that matter, unless you're going to shoot BPCR or silhouette matches.

I load BP and subs using my Hornady L-N-L for 44-40, 45 Colt and 45-70 using the normal Hornady powder measure (loaded 100 45-70s today for use in Plainsman matches). I use a Hornady BP measure for my shotgun shells cause the Lee Loader II doesn't meter very well and there isnt a charge bar insert big enough.
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Old August 21, 2008, 09:12 PM   #4
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I just use an old brass Thompson center powder measure. Don't use smokeless lube with bp unless you really like tough cleaning jobs. I make my own with beeswax and crisco. Cleanup is easy with soapy water and a couple of patches. I use the same lube for smokeless, works great.
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Old August 21, 2008, 09:32 PM   #5
CraigC
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Quote:
BP measure is nice; but not required.
You're not concerned about static electricity?


Quote:
Don't use smokeless lube with bp unless you really like tough cleaning jobs.
That may be a problem, I only use commercial cast bullets.
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Old August 21, 2008, 10:39 PM   #6
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You're not concerned about static electricity?
I wouldn't be. I think that issue has been pretty well put to bed as far as black powder is concerned.
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Old August 21, 2008, 10:49 PM   #7
CraigC
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This may be a dumb question but if you use a standard powder measure, how do you measure the charge? If I understand it right, a blackpowder powder measure throws a measured charge (by volume) but a smokeless powder measure has to be verified with a scale (by weight). Or do you just weigh a charge measured by volume and then adjust your powder measure to throw that weight?
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Old August 21, 2008, 10:50 PM   #8
Fingers McGee
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CraigC
Quote:
You're not concerned about static electricity?
Mykeal
Quote:
I wouldn't be. I think that issue has been pretty well put to bed as far as black powder is concerned.
I think the 'myth' of static electricity ingniting BP has been busted more than once. The problem with static causing explosions is predicated on a high concenration of dust in the air, not powder in a measure or container. Explosions in rice and grain silos are caused by dust in the air, not the grain. Besides, most powders; BP, subs and smokeless, come in plastic bottles now.

There are plenty of commercial cast bullets that use BP lubes. Meister and Desperado are a couple that come readily to mind. (BTW - I highly recommend Desperado bullets - that's all I use) Failing that, removing the crayon lube from a cast bullet and pan lubing is an option that some use.
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Old August 22, 2008, 04:45 AM   #9
Hawg
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Weigh a volume measured charge and adjust accordingly. It should be the same or pretty close. After all bp is what the smokeless charge weights were originally based on. The real problem arises is when you try to weigh the subs.
Heck if nothing else just fill a case to around 1/16 from the top and make a dipper to throw the same charge.
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Old August 22, 2008, 07:18 AM   #10
Fingers McGee
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Quote:
This may be a dumb question but if you use a standard powder measure, how do you measure the charge? If I understand it right, a blackpowder powder measure throws a measured charge (by volume) but a smokeless powder measure has to be verified with a scale (by weight). Or do you just weigh a charge measured by volume and then adjust your powder measure to throw that weight?
Both BP measures and smokeless measure throw charges by volume; you just have to perform an extra step with smokeless to convert the volume to weight using a scale. Using an adjustable hand held BP measure that is marked in grains will help you adjust a hopper style measure for BP charges. You can get a set of Lee dippers, or do like Hawg said; just adjust the measure so it will fill the case so you get 1/16 to 1/8 inch compression when you seat the bullet. I adjust the powder measure on my Hornady L-N-L so that a charge will just about fill the case and give me about 1/8 inch compression when seating the bullet when using BP, and so the bullet just sits on top of the powder when using subs.
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Old August 22, 2008, 08:08 AM   #11
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Black powder cartridges are the easyest way to learn reloading ..it`s real simple ...No air space in your loads ..fill the case close to the top and compress a bullet on top ..The biggest problem with B/P cartridges is the lube ..food grade or spg only ...the smokeless bullets have moly lube and it won`t work with real B/P or Pyrodex ....You can use moly lubed bullets with B/P subs like APP or 777 powder and they will work just fine but still leave no air space . . I do use the volume type powder measure for loading my cases for consistancy , but always within 1/8 of a inch to the top of the brass.
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Old August 22, 2008, 08:43 AM   #12
CraigC
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The bullets are gonna be a problem. I stocked up two years ago, before I moved to TN, and have been buying them every chance I get since. I've got a sizeable stockpile in the sizes/weights I need. So basically, if I can't use what I've already got, I ain't gonna play. At least not right now.
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Old August 22, 2008, 10:08 AM   #13
sundance44s
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If your doing any casting I might suggest a Lee .255 gr ..452 bullet mold ..I cast alot of these and pan lube them with a crisco /beeswax mix ..I shoot these with 34 gr of Goex 2F under them ..and never have a fouling problem .
The store bought SPG bullets are just a little rich for my blood ..You can use lead like wheelweights for casting bullets and they shoot fine ..
I`ve never seen a need for sizeing bullets thrown from my Lee bullet mold .
You can buy this mold from Track ..for around 18 bucks .
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Old August 22, 2008, 10:45 AM   #14
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I'm in Kuwait right now, but Lone Star Rifles is building a target rolling block in .45-70 that should be waiting on me when I get home.

At present, I have absolutely no interest in messing around with molds and molten lead.

Swaging does interest me, however. That and paper-patched bullets.

My grease groove bullets will all be store bought in the beginning.
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Old August 22, 2008, 12:09 PM   #15
CraigC
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Well, hold the phone. What started all this was that I REALLY wanted one of the new Winchester `76 replicas in .50-95. I decided that it was gonna be too much trouble to feed it as I didn't want to have to cast my own. So what I had planned to do to scratch this itch was to get a `73 in .44Spl to go along with my .44Colts. Since I can't use the cast bullets I already have with blackpowder, I might as well swing for the fence if I'm gonna go to the plate. So right now I'm looking at the .50-95 again and the available commercial bullets with an eye towards casting my own in the near future.
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Old August 22, 2008, 07:48 PM   #16
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Just take some of the bullets you already have and clean the lube off of them and pan lube them with beeswax and crisco.
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